Russia’s defence ministry on Friday accused Ukraine of executing more than 10 Russian prisoners of war in what Moscow said constituted a “war crime”, the latest allegation of abuse in the nearly nine-month-long war.
The ministry cited a video circulating on Russian social media which it said showed the execution of Russian soldiers. Reuters was unable to immediately verify either the video or the defence ministry’s claim.
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“This brutal murder of Russian servicemen is neither the first, nor the only war crime,” the defence ministry said.
“This is common practice in the Armed Forces of Ukraine that is actively supported by the Kyiv regime and blatantly ignored by its Western patrons.”
There was no immediate response from Kyiv to Moscow’s claims. Ukraine has repeatedly accused Russia of war crimes, claims Russia has denied.
The video appears to show Russian soldiers lying on the ground in Makiivka, in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine, after surrendering to armed men with yellow bands on their arms.
Then automatic gunfire rings out and the video shows the bodies. Approximately 12 bodies are shown. It was unclear when the video was filmed or who filmed it.
The Russian defence ministry said the video showed “the deliberate and methodical murder of more than 10 immobilised Russian servicemen by degenerate Ukrainian soldiers”.
The defence ministry said the video was a sign of the “atrocious nature” of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his “regime” in Kyiv, and said he would “answer before the court of history and the people of Russia and Ukraine”.
Russia’s Investigative Committee, which investigates serious crimes, said later it had opened a criminal case into the execution of “at least 11 unarmed Russian servicemen”. In a statement, it said investigators were working to identify the people who had filmed the video.